Good morning. Today is Tuesday, January 15, 2013. It’s currently 29 degrees and snowing in Fort Worth. The good news is that it just barely got below freezing within the last hour, and temps should begin rising pretty soon, so hopefully we won’t have any road issues on the way to work. What makes this rather crazy is that I was awakened at about 530am by thunder.
Yesterday was a pretty good day, for a Monday. Nothing really to talk about. But this morning, on my way to work, I’m stopping by our other location (about 5 minutes from my building) to weigh in for this year’s Biggest Loser Challenge. So for the next ten weeks, I’ll be super focused on fitness and losing weight. Tonight is Lifehouse night, so I won’t get to the gym tonight, but tomorrow night, it’s on. We’ll see if I can win this thing two years in a row.
Today is “National Strawberry Ice Cream Day.” Here we go with the ice cream holidays again. I guess every flavor gets its own day, huh? I like strawberry ice cream, but I shan’t be partaking today. See the above paragraph for the reason.
On this date in 1815, Emma Hamilton, “the great love of the illustrious Admiral Horatio Nelson,” died at the age of 50, pretty much in poverty. She was born Emma Lyon on April 26, 1765, and by the age of 16, was “already a kept woman, bearing a child to Sir Harry Fetherstonhaugh.” She later moved in with Charles Greville, who “passed her on to his uncle, Sir William Hamilton,” who was 62 years old at the time. They were married after living together for five years. She started her “famous affair with Nelson” while in her 30s. Sir William (who apparently didn’t mind the affair?) died in 1803, after which Emma and Nelson “set up house in England, becoming something of a national joke and scandal.” Admiral Nelson was killed at Trafalgar, and Emma was left with little money. Her final place of residence, after moving to progressively cheaper places, was Calais, “where she spent much of each day consuming as much wine as her meagre funds could provide.” What a great role model, huh? (From Great Stories from History for Every Day)
Today’s birthday is Gene Krupa, born on this date in 1909. Krupa is believed by many to have been the greatest drummer that ever lived.
I rise before dawn and cry for help; I hope in your words. Psalm 119:147
You are my God, and I will give thanks to you; you are my God; I will extol you. Psalm 118:28
Father, I thank you for this new day, and pray that you show yourself to me this morning, teaching me your ways through your words.
Today, I’m reading Isaiah 19:1-4.
1 An oracle concerning Egypt. Behold, the LORD is riding on a swift cloud and comes to Egypt; and the idols of Egypt will tremble at his presence, and the heart of the Egyptians will melt within them.
2 And I will stir up Egyptians against Egyptians, and they will fight, each against another and each against his neighbor, city against city, kingdom against kingdom;
3 and the spirit of the Egyptians within them will be emptied out, and I will confound their counsel; and they will inquire of the idols and the sorcerers, and the mediums and the necromancers;
4 and I will give over the Egyptians into the hand of a hard master, and a fierce king will rule over them, declares the Lord GOD of hosts.
This prophecy concerns God’s judgment against Egypt. The timing is not certain. This judgment will be such that it will even divide the Egyptians against each other. Their spirit, their drive, their ambition, all will be “emptied out,” and their counsel will become meaningless, to the point that they will even call upon mediums and necromancers. They will be ruled over by a “fierce king.”
Today’s reading from A Year With God is called “The Birth of Jesus.” The scripture reference is Matthew 1:18-25.
18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit.
19 And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly.
20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.
21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”
22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:
23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).
24 When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife,
25 but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.
What happened with Jesus Christ was “totally unexpected and incomprehensible to human ways of thinking.” Throughout history, and even in our individual lives today, God still has a way of “entering at unexpected times and in unexpected ways.” The birth of Jesus was a miracle, such has not been seen since (yes, I do believe that he was born of a virgin). One of his names, “Immanuel,” means “God with us.” God is present with us today, in our individual lives, through the life of Jesus Christ..
I am asked how the event of Christ’s birth changed my life. I’m pretty sure I don’t have time to give a fully complete answer to that question. But I believe that I would have no life were it not for the life of Christ. Not only would I have nothing to be thankful for, but I would have no one to thank. Jesus Christ is everything to me. Do I live that way, every second of every day? No, of course not. There are times when, if you were to observe me, I’m sure you would not know that I loved Jesus. But I am working on what our pastor calls the “1% grade,” constantly growing, constantly improving my walk with him. So, because of Jesus, because he deemed it worthwhile to leave the beauty of his throne in heaven and dwell among us, my life is constantly changing, every day. I owe everything that I am to him.
Father, I thank you for Jesus, without whom I would be nothing. I cannot list the benefits of knowing Christ in the time that I have this morning. But I will surely be thinking on this subject throughout this day, as I drive to work, and as I do the tasks set before me at work today. I thank you for the way you “show up” unexpectedly in our lives and in unexpected ways. To say that you “show up” is, of course, inaccurate, because you are always here. But there are still many times that you make your presence known in ways that we do not expect, at times that we do not expect. I thank you that you do this. Keep me aware of your presence as each day goes by. I don’t ever want to forget that you are with me.
I pray for this day. First, I pray that Christi is not experiencing any travel difficulties on the way to work. Keep her safe this morning. I pray the same for all who are driving this morning. I pray that the snow we are experiencing does not accumulate on the roads. I ask that Christi would have a good day today, not having any anxiety in her work day. I pray that Stephanie will have a good day, also free from anxiety or stress. Draw her heart into yours, Lord. Finally, I ask that I would have a safe trip in to work, and that my day will be without anxiety, and I pray that none of our drivers would be adversely affected by the falling snow.
I pray for our Lifehouse group tonight. May we have a good, productive meeting and may we ever grow closer together.
Where God is concerned, we would do well to expect the unexpected.
Grace and peace, friends.